Consider this for a moment. You are the host or hostess in your home. At times you may have guests in for a visit. And after a certain time, they leave.
So it is with our brain. We are the host or hostess to our thoughts. Or are we?
I don't know about you but I've noticed that thoughts often enter my mind without being invited. And sometimes they linger, uninvited visitors that stay because I haven't intentionally asked them to leave.
Every thought has a chemical as well as an energetic signature. I've noticed that if I host a negative thought a mood comes with it. And if I allow it to stay, it can easily consume my entire attention, becoming the prevalent thought or mood for an hour or a day.
Over time, as I became more adept at inner self-reflection, I began to notice the obvious. Thoughts and feelings ebb and flow. They wander in and out and I don't have to be the effect of them. They are after all, guests and not the owners of the house.
So how do you take back your 'home'? What are the habit masters' secrets to reclaiming their territory?
- Put your mind to good use. It is, after all, your mind. Invite the guest to leave. It doesn't get to live there. You do!
- Use displacement - I tend to be highly visual so I displace the emotion by filling my mind with a picture of of a loved one until it becomes so strong that it commands my full attention. In any case, use all of your senses to fill your mind and heart with positive thoughts and feelings of someone you care deeply about.
- Use the power of appreciation. The Heartmath Institute teaches that appreciation is one of the most powerful positive life transforming emotions there is.
- Focus your attention on your heart and think of something that you are grateful for in your life. Fill your heart with the feeling of happiness that appreciation brings.
- Imagine a channel from your heart to your brain.
- Then fill this channel with the feeling of appreciation, sending it from your heart to your brain and you will quickly reclaim your mind.
Remember to remember who you are. You are the host in your own head. So if you're feeling stuck, fearful, resistant or experiencing any of the lower thoughts or emotions, ask the intruder to leave. Reclaim your brain for more consistent levels of joy and satisfaction in your life.
A dear friend of mine, Tadia Rice introduced me to the word 'ubuntu'. Tadia spent many years living and working in South Africa and shared that ubuntu represented a way of thinking and living in the South African tradition.
Ubuntu has many meanings but they all center around the idea that our humanity comes from being part of a larger body of humanity or 'the tribe'. There is a story I read on the internet some time ago that highlights the meaning of ubuntu in action. Because I forgot to tag the story, I'm going to share it as an adaptive version.
A western archeologist working in South Africa decided to do an experiment. He was working in a village with lots of families, so he invited a group of children to join him one day out under a tree.
He pointed to a tree about 30 feet away and said, "I have placed a basket of fruit under that tree. Whoever races to the basket and gets there first can have all the fruit in the basket."
The children eyed one another, then stood up and held their hands out to each other, and walked together to the tree. When they arrived at the basket they all sat down under the tree together and shared the feast of fresh fruit.
When the archeologist, steeped in the western paradigm, asked them why they did that, one child looked up and answered. "Ubuntu, I am because we are."
Having been born and raised in the Hawaiian Islands, I immediately thought of our word, 'Aloha'. Aloha has many meanings - goodbye, hello, I love you - yet we have come to share the concept of Aloha in a modern phrase, "Live Aloha".
To "Live Aloha" is to live from the heart and to express kindness and compassion to everyone. To Live Aloha, is to remember that what you do comes back to you. And although it is not an exact translation of Ubuntu, it has similar underpinnings, the foundation is based on the idea that relationship is everything.
The fun of Ubuntu or Living Aloha is looking for little ways to express these on a daily basis, even in this fast paced world of ours.
- On the freeway - when someone wants to cut in, wave them in with a smile. (Make it a habit you'll have good 'car karma'!)
- In the grocery store - if the person behind you has only one or two items and you have a full basket, invite them to move ahead of you.
- In the elevator - smile and say hello to the person standing next to you. (A smile is the most contagious body language on the planet regardless of the culture you're in.)
- Talk to the clerk at the store - i.E. "How are you doing today?" (With a smile, of course!)
What goes around, comes around and the more you give, the more you get. So get creative! Make up new ways of sharing Aloha or the concept of Ubuntu. Have fun with it and share your stories with me. I loving hearing the magic of Aloha in Action!
About 30 years ago I studied the work of Dr Irving Oyle. Dr. Oyle was an MD. He was one of the first physicians who parted company with the medical professions' belief that illness was purely a physical phenomena.
Long before it had become a popular concept, Dr. Oyle spoke of the mind-body connection. He said that repetitive negative thoughts and emotions can be detrimental to our health. Further, he said that positive thoughts released positive chemicals in the body that led to enhanced health and well being.
Dr. Oyle left the medical profession and went on to speak about these concepts as early as 1978. He coined the phrase 'Joy Juice' as the chemical release that accompanied happy thoughts and emotions. I thought the phrase so appropriate that I've used it ever since.
What is your joy juice factor?
- What do you really enjoy doing?
- What makes your heart sing?
- What nourishes your spirit?
- What replenishes your energy?
- What are you grateful for in your life?
I invite you to join me in this exploration. Using these questions as a guide, make a list of all the things that bring you pleasure and joy.
My short list includes:
- Watching the sun set every evening
- Going for a long slow swim in the afternoon
- Reading books on everything from neuroscience to leadership
- Driving cross country
- Talking-story with my dearest friends
- Sitting and just 'being' with family
- Calling my mother for a chat
- Sitting in a hot tub under the stars
I could go on.... But what's your Joy Juice list? Just hit the talking bubble at the bottom of this blog and let me hear your JJ list! And remember that Joy Juice is the secret to long life and well being so do something or some things that make you happy every day.
To me, Thanksgiving is one of the most beautiful traditions in our culture. It is a time for reflection and family. It is a time to give thanks for everyone and everything in our lives.
We have a family tradition here in the islands. On Thanksgiving day we list 100 things we are thankful for in life. By the time I get to 50, after listing my family and friends, and the freedoms I have living in a free country, I have to reflect more deeply.
It is then that I start to realize how truly blessed I am. I give thanks for a roof over my head, a bed to sleep in, the sky, the sea, grass beneath my feet, the smell of rain and all the things I so often take for granted.
I invite you to join me in listing the 100 things you are grateful for in your life. It is an inspiring experience. It will give you an opportunity to reflect on the gifts that your life has given you!
And I give thanks for all of you. Thank you for being in my life and enriching my experience here on Earth. Everyone of you have in some way touched my heart and inspired my soul.
May this holiday season bring you closer to family and friends. And as you reflect on all that you are thankful for, may your heart be filled with awe at the wonder of our humanity.
You are not what you appear to be. You aren't even who your friends and family think you are. If you were, you'd be stuck in the past: yesterdays images replaying today like a movie you've experienced before.
Instead, consider this: you are a hero in the making. Let me define what I mean by this. To me a hero is anyone who lives the ordinary life in an extra-ordinary way. We've all heard that before. But I don't mean that as some superficial flippant phrase.
I mean it from the depths of my heart. It is the intention to live on the edge of yourself out where the unexplored you exists. It is the willingness to give life to something not yet born in yourself. It is the willingness to discover a new part of yourself every single day.
It is a whole hearted willingness to explore and stretch the preconceived mental and emotional boundaries that I have held for myself. Its the willingness to reignite the inner fire every day in order to become a better human being than I was yesterday.
Let me share about my dear friend Lovell Harris. Lovell was one of the young men that I mentored many years ago in my career. Lovell was born in Saint Louis Missouri and he was raised in the projects. At that time the projects in St. Louis Missouri were one square mile with 30,000 people living in tenement buildings.
Lovell lived in one of these tenement apartments. He was one of six boys. They lived with their mother, who was the only working adult in the family, her mother and his alcoholic father. I don't intend to share the whole story with you as it is in my book GPS for Success.
But the bottom line is this. Lovell said, "I had to decide that I wasn't just a black boy from the projects with an alcoholic father who beat me and called me stupid whenever he was drunk."
Lovell was clear that his birth was not his birthright. It was not what he was born to be. He refused to be conditioned, for the rest of his life, by his early years. He went on to a remarkable career as a speaker and trainer and now runs 3 companies of his own.
So where are the boundaries? Where are the limits? Who sets them? And who said so? You know who said so: the neural pathways in your brain that were laid years ago based on the opinions you accepted about yourself. These have now become habit. Don't let your habits hold you prisoner! Don't let your past determine your future!
Remember to remember who you are. You are not your habits. You do not have to act them out anymore. Do something different.
- You think you're shy? Reach out and say hello to someone. Don't think about it. Do it now.
- You think of yourself as sophisticated? Do something silly. Laugh at yourself.
- You're afraid to speak up? Speak up anyway.
- You want to interview for a new job and you think you'll fail? Do the interview for the job anyway. Don't think failure is about you. Failure is how we learn. You'll do a better interview when the next opportunity comes up.
This is Core Training for the Brain at it's optimum. It's not just about becoming more positive. It's about deciding who you want to be and then doing what you need to do to become that way.
Every new day provides a new opportunity. Stretch and transform yourself a little bit every day until one day you no longer recognize the you that you used to be. You have become the you that you wanted to be and maybe even more!
Have fun. Be joyful. Be happy. Give thanks, for life is good and so are you!
Thoughts are things! And the biggest barrier to manifesting the things that we desire, is the inner critic or self-judgment. Planet Earth is a giant classroom. As human beings, we weren't made perfect. The planetary training is a training in self-growth.
It could be said that we are perfect in our imperfections. If we embrace our imperfections, we accept ourselves just the way we are and the way we are not.
There is something truly wonderful in this. Thoughts turn into things! And because thought energy is extremely powerful. It both turns into things and attracts things to us.
To take this one step further, the thought energy of resistance causes persistence. Said another way, 'what we resist persists'. If we resist our limitations and imperfections, we get more of them.
If we embrace ourselves with all our foibles and release our resistance. Then the 'Law of Allowing' kicks in. The law of allowing says that when we stop resisting and accept what is, blocked energy begins to flow.
Stop self-criticism and self-judgment. Accept yourself just the way you are and the way you are not. Let yourself be okay with yourself and energy will start to flow.
For myself, everything shifted the day I accepted myself just the way I am. It was my personal watershed event!
Einstein said, "The only question pertinent to mankind is, 'IS THE UNIVERSE FRIENDLY?'
Well I decided that the universe is friendly and that I am loved by some force greater than myself. If I am loved by (The Force), then how dare I not love myself?
Go on a one day self-judgment fast:
- Breathe - Be aware of your breath.Practice conscious breathing during the course of the day.(This changes the firing of the neurons in the brain and anchors a moment of self-awareness.)
- Pay attention to your attention. Ask yourself, 'where is my attention now?'
- In these moments of conscious awareness, embrace everything that is happening in that moment. Accept the moment and yourself in that moment, just as it is without adding your opinions or judgment to it.
Remember to remember - You are loved! And as you do, everything changes forever. Accepting that you are loved makes the heart happy and a happy heart causes the energy of life to flow again attracting all good things to you.
We listen all day long... to our peers, friends, family, co-workers, children, partner. But do we really HEAR what they are saying?
The ability to listen and the ability to really hear are two different things. One is mechanical and the other is an art form.
I have been a student of listening for over thirty years now. My journey with my mentor has been a never ending journey of awakening and discovery. Listening is the most profound master teacher that I have ever studied under.
I have had a few great master teachers in my life time! But not one with the power to carry me through multidimensional levels of awareness in a moment by moment process. My Listening Mentor wears a coat of many colors and just when I think that I have become my own master, my mentor morphs, showing me a depth I never saw before.
The very first lesson that my master teacher shared with me is that HEAR and HEART are only one letter apart. So the first teaching I received at the feet of my master teacher was, "To really hear what is being said you must connect with heart!"
Action Step - try this over the next week:
- Whenever you are in a listening situation during the coming week, imagine opening a channel from your heart to your head.
- Be aware of your heart and your hearts' capacity to "hear" or feel what is being said.
- Be aware of your heart as you listen and notice what if you discover. Without judgment or opinions, just listen from your heart and notice what comes up.
Thoughts are things!! Every repetitive thought that we think eventually becomes reality.
Our brain is magnificent! In fact, neuro-scientists tell use that the human brain is the most powerful processor and solution generator on the planet.
We know that human intention can and does influence material and properties in a significant way. We are all equally powerful in our ability and our creative capacity to shape the world around us and to have a direct impact on our planet. We affect the world around us whether we are consciously intending to or not.
When we we utilize our heart and combine our thoughts with our feelings, scientists tell us that this energetic combination is more powerful than a radio transmission. With constant random thoughts and repetitive patterns of thoughts and feelings we are accidentally or unintentionally creating our reality all day long.
It is time to practice a higher heart wisdom and practice mind management.
Remember to remember that you will rise to the level of the visions that you hold and the conversations you have with yourself. Consciously or unconsciously, your inner visions and your inner voice direct your reality. So lets be conscious!
- Envision the life you would like to have.
- Create a powerful positive present tense mantra that states that you already have it
- Repeat the mantra every morning, every evening and whenever you think of it.
- Energize it with gratitude that this new reality is happening now.
- Continue to do this every day and your world will begin to shift from so-so or even good, to sublime
Here are two simple examples:
- I am so thankful and happy now that money is coming to me consistently and on an ever increasing basis from various sources.
- I am ever grateful for my personal presence and energy in working with my team as I inspire them to achieve our team goals.
So there it is! Keep your heartfelt emotions and thoughts positive. Create a powerful positive mantra for your success in an area (one at a time). Repeat the mantra as often as possible. Act as if it already is what you want it to be. "So be it as I speak it," is the thought that activates and attracts the energy of success!
There is always magic in the air (literally) when I fly and my trip to LA was no different. I was offered a seat up front and when the plane was fully boarded, I said hello to the couple sitting next to me.
At first, the banter went back and forth "Where are you off to?" - a filming for the Heroes for Humanity Project.
"And you?" They were on their way up for one of their niece's wedding. A bit more chatting and it turned out that I was sitting next to Al Wong, named by the New York Times, as the Happiest Man in America, and his wife Trudy.
We talked about love, joy, living in Hawaii, family and a lot more. We shared about heart happiness and how the happiness of our heart plays a central role in our overall happiness. We spoke of the power of a smile and the implicit joy that happens when we say "Aloha" and connect with other people.
Then Trudi shared how Al received the award. It turns out that over the last three years, Gallup has called 1,000 randomly selected American adults each day. The interviewers asked each person about their emotional state, work satisfaction, eating habits, illnesses, stress levels and other quality of life indicators.
Trudi shared that the call was amazing. As the interviewer was going through the list of questions with Al, she suddenly shouted to everyone in the phone room, "We've found him! We finally found him!"
"Meanwhile," she said, "Al thought the whole thing was a joke. He couldn't even believe that there was really such a search."
It was truly a memorable flight of the mind and heart as well as getting my physical being to LA for the filming. And the insight gained from this unforgettable few hours? It's good to reflect about our lives along some of the key indicators...
- How is your sense of emotional wellbeing? Are you happy during the day or do you have times of sadness?
- What is your stress level? Do you experience frustration, get annoyed or irritated? Or are you fairly consistently balanced and happy?
- Do you smile a lot every day? Do you connect with others, even strangers?
- How is your financial situation? Do you save regularly?
- Do you enjoy your work?
- Is your family situation happy? Are you divorced, single or married? And are you at peace with your situation?
To learn more about the award go here.